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sure. What on earth has he done to offend

Norah's self-control began to show signs of
failing her. Her dark cheeks glowed, her delicate
lips trembled, before she spoke again.
Magdalen paid more attention to her parasol
than to her sister. She tossed it high in the air,
and caught it. "Once!" she saidand tossed
it up again. "Twice!"—and she tossed it
higher. "Thrice-!" Before she could catch
it for the third time, Norah seized her passionately
by the arm, and the parasol dropped to the
ground between them.

"You are treating me heartlessly," she said.
"For shame, Magdalenfor shame!"

The irrepressible outburst of a reserved nature,
forced into open self-assertion in its own despite,
is of all moral forces the hardest to resist. Magdalen
was startled into silence. For a moment,
the two sistersso strangely dissimilar in person
and characterfaced one another, without a
word passing between them. For a moment,
the deep brown eyes of the elder, and the light
grey eyes of the younger, looked into each other
with steady unyielding scrutiny on either side.
Norah's face was the first to change; Norah's
head was the first to turn away. She dropped
her sister's arm, in silence. Magdalen stooped,
and picked up her parasol.

"I try to keep my temper," she said, "and
you call me heartless for doing it. You always
were hard on me, and you always will be."

Norah clasped her trembling hands fast in
each other. "Hard on you!" she said, in low,
mournful tonesand sighed bitterly.

Magdalen drew back a little, and mechanically
dusted the parasol with the end of her garden

"Yes!" she resumed, doggedly. "Hard on
me, and hard on Frank."

"Frank!" repeated Norah, advancing on her
sister, and turning pale as suddenly as she had
turned red. "Do you talk of yourself and Frank
as if your interests were One already? Magdalen!
if I hurt you, do I hurt him? Is he so
near and so dear to you as that?"

Magdalen drew farther and farther back. A
twig from a tree near caught her cloak; she
turned petulantly, broke it off, and threw it on
the ground. "What right have you to question
me?" she broke out on a sudden. "Whether I
like Frank, or whether I don't, what interest is
it of yours?" As she said the words, she abruptly
stepped forward to pass her sister, and
return to the house.

Norah, turning paler and paler, barred the way
to her. "If I hold you by main force," she said,
"you shall stop and hear me. I have watched this
Francis Clare; I know him better than you do.
He is unworthy of a moment's serious feeling on
your part; he is unworthy of our dear, good,
kind-hearted father's interest in him. A man
with any principle, any honour, any gratitude,
would not have come back as he has come back,
disgracedyes! disgraced by his spiritless neglect
of his own duty. I watched his face while
the friend who has been better than a father to
him, was comforting and forgiving him with a
kindness he had not deserved: I watched his
face, and I saw no shame, and no distress in it
I saw nothing but a look of thankless, heartless
relief. He is selfish, he is ungrateful, he is
ungeneroushe is only twenty, and he has the
worst failings of a mean old age already. And
this is the man I find you meeting in secretthe
man who has taken such a place in your
favour that you are deaf to the truth about him,
even from my lips! Magdalen! this will end ill.
For God's sake, think of what I have said to
you, and control yourself before it is too late!"
She stopped, vehement and breathless, and
caught her sister anxiously by the hand.

Magdalen looked at her in unconcealed

"You are so violent," she said, "and so unlike
yourself, that I hardly know you. The more
patient I am, the more hard words I get for my
pains. You have taken a perverse hatred to
Frank; and you are unreasonably angry with me,
because I won't hate him too. Don't, Norah!
you hurt my hand."

Norah pushed the hand from her, contemptuously.
"I shall never hurt your heart," she
saidand suddenly turned her back on Magdalen
as she spoke the words.

There was a momentary pause. Norah kept
her position. Magdalen looked at her
perplexedlyhesitatedthen walked away by
herself towards the house.

At the turn in the shrubbery path, she stopped,
and looked back uneasily. "Oh dear, dear!" she
thought to herself, "why didn't Frank go when
I told him?" She hesitated, and went back a
few steps. "There's Norah standing on her
dignity, as obstinate as ever." She stopped
again. "What had I better do? I hate
quarrelling: I think I'll make it up." She ventured
close to her sister, and touched her on the
shoulder. Norah never moved. "It's not often she
flies into a passion," thought Magdalen, touching
her again; "but when she does, what a time
it lasts her!—Come!" she said, "give me a kiss,
Norah, and make it up. Won't you let me get
at any part of you, my dear, but the back of
your neck? Well, it's a very nice neckit's
better worth kissing than mineand there the
kiss is, in spite of you!"

She caught fast hold of Norah from behind,
and suited the action to the word, with a total
disregard of all that had just passed, which her
sister was far from emulating. Hardly a minute
since, the warm outpouring of Norah's heart had
burst through all obstacles. Had the icy reserve
frozen her up again already! It was hard to say.
She never spoke; she never changed her position
she only searched hurriedly for her handkerchief.
As she drew it out, there was a sound of
approaching footsteps in the inner recesses of